If the Shoe Fits and Other Poems
If the Shoe Fits
Lately I’ve been kicking the tires
of white supremacy. White supremacists
hold rallies, which include marching,
which is good for the heart. They have a knack
for getting their screaming on TV.
They have a simple, uncomplicated message,
and I long to be a simple, uncomplicated person.
The problem is I don’t know what to be
supremely proud of. A white man
invented the light bulb. A different white man
created the glow-in-the-dark yo-yo. Yet another
owns the New England Patriots.
What we’re most famous for, though,
what we’re absolutely the ne plus ultra
and Mona Lisa of, is melding capitalism
and slavery, the theft of land and bodies, and lying
about the nature of the theft of land and bodies.
For instance: black people have thicker nerve casings
and so feel less pain. While there’s a kind
of ingenuity to that lie, a justification
for sleeping well despite the whip on your bedpost,
mostly it’s evil and not the kind of achievement
to make me slip on a foam “We’re #1” hand.
What if white men became supremely good
at making up for our past? Returned Florida
to the Choctaw, the Creek, helped put a woman
in the Oval and not just to dust or dream
of comely drapes, updated forty acres and a mule
to forty acres and an F-150 pickup?
I’d have to tilt my head to recognize the world
and wear an Italian suit
to flatter my newfound self-respect.
Any day now. Yes, sir. Any day now.